Scene V.Without the Walls of Florence.
A tucket afar off. Enter a Widow of Florence,
DIANA, VIOLENTA, MARIANA, and other
Wid. Nay, come; for if they do approach the
city we shall lose all the sight.
Dia. They say the French Count has done
most honourable service.
Wid. It is reported that he has taken their
greatest commander, and that with his own hand
he slew the duke's brother. We have lost our
labour; they are gone a contrary way: hark!
you may know by their trumpets.
Mar. Come; let's return again, and suffice our-
selves with the report of it. Well, Diana, take
heed of this French earl: the honour of a maid
is her name, and no legacy is so rich as honesty.
Wid. I have told my neighbour how you have
been solicited by a gentleman his companion.
Mar. I know that knave; hang him! one
Parolles: a filthy officer he is in those suggestions
for the young earl. Beware of them, Diana;
their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, and
all these engines of lust, are not the things they
go under: many a maid hath been seduced by
them; and the misery is, example, that so terrible
shows in the wrack of maidenhood, cannot for all
that dissuade succession, but that they are limed
with the twigs that threaten them. I hope I
need not to advise you further; but I hope your
own grace will keep you where you are, though
there were no further danger known but the
modesty which is so lost.
Dia. You shall not need to fear me.
Wid. I hope so. Look, here comes a pilgrim:
I know she will lie at my house; thither they
send one another. I'll question her.
Enter HELENA in the dress of a Pilgrim.
God save you, pilgrim! whither are you bound?
Hel. To Saint Jaques le Grand.
Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?
Wid. At the Saint Francis, here beside the
Hel. Is this the way?
Wid. Ay, marry, is't. Hark you!
[A march, afar off.
They come this way. If you will tarry, holy
But till the troops come by,
I will conduct you where you shall be lodg'd:
The rather, for I think I know your hostess
As ample as myself.
Hel. Is it yourself?
Wid. If you shall please so, pilgrim.
Hel. I thank you, and will stay upon your
Wid. You came, I think, from France?
Hel. I did so.
Wid. Here you shall see a countryman of yours
That has done worthy service.
Hel. His name, I pray you.
Dia. The Count Rousillon: know you such a
Hel. But by the ear, that hears most nobly of
His face I know not.
Dia. Whatsoe'er he is,
He's bravely taken here. He stole from France,
As 'tis reported, for the king had married him
Against his liking. Think you it is so?
Hel. Ay, surely, mere the truth: I know his lady.
Dia. There is a gentleman that serves the
Reports but coarsely of her.
Hel. What's his name?
Dia. Monsieur Parolles.
Hel. O! I believe with him,
In argument of praise, or to the worth
Of the great count himself, she is too mean
To have her name repeated: all her deserving
Is a reserved honesty, and that
I have not heard examin'd.
Dia. Alas, poor lady!
'Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
Of a detesting lord.
Wid. Ay, right; good creature, wheresoe'er
Her heart weighs sadly. This young maid might
A shrewd turn if she pleas'd.
Hel. How do you mean?
May be the amorous count solicits her
In the unlawful purpose.
Wid. He does, indeed;
And brokes with all that can in such a suit
Corrupt the tender honour of a maid:
But she is arm'd for him and keeps her guard
In honestest defence.
Mar. The gods forbid else!
Enter, with drum and colours, a party of the
Florentine army, BERTRAM and PAROLLES.
Wid. So, now they come.
That is Antonio, the duke's eldest son;
Hel. Which is the Frenchman?
That with the plume: 'tis a most gallant fellow;
I would he lov'd his wife. If he were honester,
He were much goodlier; is't not a handsome
Hel. I like him well.
Dia. 'Tis pity he is not honest. Yond's that
That leads him to these passes: were I his lady
I would poison that vile rascal.
Hel. Which is he?
Dia. That jack-an-apes with scarfs. Why is
Hel. Perchance he's hurt i' the battle.
Par. Lose our drum! well.
Mar. He's shrewdly vexed at something.
Look, he has spied us.
Wid. Marry, hang you!
Mar. And your courtesy, for a ring-carrier!
[Exeunt BERTRAM, PAROLLES, Officers,
Wid. The troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will
Where you shall host: of enjoin'd penitents
There's four or five, to great Saint Jaques bound,
Already at my house.
Hel. I humbly thank you.
Please it this matron and this gentle maid
To eat with us to-night, the charge and thanking
Shall be for me; and, to requite you further,
I will bestow some precepts of this virgin
Worthy the note.
Both. We'll take your offer kindly.